Posted: 10:00 a.m. Friday, Oct. 11, 2013
Thanks to Alex Kirshner of Testudo Times. Be sure to check out our answers to their questions as well!
STL: Hey. Saw what happened last week. How ya doin? You feeling alright? Want a hug? After last week's games, seems like both Hoos and Terrapins could use a nice trip to the beach, cold drink in hand, not a care in the world. But this is college football, and life happens, and one of us has to extend the misery for another week. How are Maryland fans feeling about the rest of the year after what went down in Tallahassee?
TT: My feeling is still positive, but it has to be tempered after what went down last weekend. The Terps have a lot of offensive weapons and a defense that has looked impenetrable against everybody except the absurd Jameis Winston. Still, last week happened, and I'd be way out to lunch if I said a 63-0 destruction like that wasn't hugely concerning. This week will tell a lot. Are you guys OK? Should we talk it out?
STL: Despite the Saturday That Shall Not Be Spoken Of, both squads feature fairly stingy defenses. Both are in the top 30 in yards per game. What do the Terps do on D to shut down the opponent, and who are the guys that make the unit click?
TT: The Terps can generate a devastating pass rush. That's the genesis of everything. Linebackers Marcus Whitfield and Yannik Cudjoe-Virgil have each shot to near the top of the national sack leaderboard in the season's opening weeks, and there are some pretty talented linemen opening holes for them. Maryland's top two cornerbacks, Dexter McDougle and Jeremiah Johnson, are out with long-term injuries, so Maryland's success hinges on the pass-rushers not making backup corners stay with opposing wideouts for too long. Winston and his receivers burned and pillaged the Terps last week, and it's no coincidence that Winston was only sacked once.
STL: QB C.J. Brown is 50th in the country in passing yards, despite having the second-fewest passing attempts of any other top-50 QB (holy HELL, Bryce Petty). That tells me the passing game relies on the big play. Stefon Diggs has been a big-play guy from day one. How are Coach Edsall & Co. going to try and spring Diggs? Who else is going to be the biggest headache on that side of the ball?
TT: Diggs involvement comes in a variety of ways. The classic "run past everyone and have C.J. throw him the ball" gameplan is sometimes effective, but Diggs excels on short and immediate routes and as a de-facto running back on option plays and the occasional reverse. Diggs is coming off consecutive mediocre outings, though, so perhaps Edsall and offensive coordinator Mike Locksley will come up with a more innovative way to get him involved. Behind Diggs, No. 2 receiver Deon Long is an athletic target with a likely pro future, and he's been helpful in his first five games since coming to College Park from junior college. Running back Brandon Ross and third receiver Nigel King can also be important contributors.
STL: Stepping outside this week's action, lots has been written about Maryland's decision to move to the Big Ten next year. Not all of it has been positive. What's the general sentiment among the fan base about the move? What are you looking forward to gaining in the B1G, and what do you think you'll lose by leaving the ACC?
TT: That depends on who you ask. Younger fans (like me) appreciate the move as—at the least—a financial boon, a gain in football and a fairly lateral move in basketball, accompanied by heightened exposure and recruiting opportunities. Older fans with more visceral ACC attachments, as a generalization, see it as a cold money grab and will miss being part of a conference that has been pretty good to Maryland over the years. I'm excited for the athletic transition, and I also think the university will benefit a great deal from its membership in the Committee on Institutional Cooperation, the Big Ten's renowned academic consortium. The move has my approval, but it isn't hard to find skeptics.
STL: Dominant story line this week is going to be "rebound game." Maryland and Virginia both need one. Both teams have made some changes along the two-deep. Maryland will be trying to retain its footing in the Atlantic Division's upper echelon (with FSU and Clemson) while Virginia is looking to develop an identity and get the whole season back on track. End of the day: Who ya got?
TT: I think the Terrapins will win, but the margin depends on Brown's health. If he's playing and close to 100 percent strength, I could see a several-touchdown win. If backup Caleb Rowe is called upon, I think it'll be closer, but the Terps' defense and a big home crowd (it's parents weekend!) should lift the home team up. Give me Maryland 27, Virginia 13.